Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis recognizes five alumni

Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis recognized the achievements of five of its alumni at a ceremony and reception May 16 in the Arts & Sciences Laboratory Science Building on campus.

Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor and dean of Arts & Sciences, presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to five Arts & Sciences alumni who have attained distinction in their academic or professional careers and have demonstrated service to their communities and to Washington University.

The honored alumni are: William E. Cornelius, M.A. ’83; Dennis C. Dickerson Sr., M.A. ’74, Ph.D. ’78; Mark J. Ginsburg, A.B. ’73, House Staff ’81; Mark E. Mason, A.B. ’51; and Susan Ekberg Stiritz, M.A. ’68, Ph.D. ’01.

When Cornelius learned that University College was starting a master’s degree program in liberal arts, he was president of Union Electric Co. (now Ameren Corp.) and deeply involved in the St. Louis community. Finding the new opportunity irresistible, Cornelius was in the program’s first graduating class, writing a thesis on nuclear weapons. He taught an evening course on the subject for several years.

Cornelius, who joined Union Electric in 1962, retired in 1994 and is now an Ameren board member. A Washington University emeritus trustee, Cornelius, with his wife, Ginger, supports scholarships in Arts & Sciences and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

Dickerson, a social historian, is a professor of history and member of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University. He joined Vanderbilt’s faculty in 1999 after nearly 23 years at Williams College, where he held an endowed chair in history and was department chair.

His myriad scholarly publications include three books and other writings on civil rights, medical history, labor, and African-American leadership and religious history.

President-elect of the American Society of Church History, Dickerson is an ordained minister and historiographer of the 2.5-million-member African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dickerson supports Arts & Sciences and Olin Library at Washington University.

Ginsburg’s rheumatology practice, from which he recently retired, was the largest of its kind in the Southeast. He is chief executive officer of ESRD Laboratories in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which performs blood tests for 18,000 people on dialysis throughout the country. He also heads Statewide Laboratory Services, which does all the lab work for Florida’s 2.5 million Medicaid patients.

He chairs Arts & Sciences’ Gold Coast Regional Cabinet and serves on the Arts & Sciences National Council, the Alumni and Parents Admission Program and the Regional Campaign Committee. A longtime supporter of the Arts & Sciences scholarship program, he has also pledged a named professorship in Arts & Sciences.

Mason is vice chairman of Oxford Development Co., one of the largest private developers in western Pennsylvania.

He has served as a Washington University trustee, chairman of the Alumni Board of Governors, member of the Arts & Sciences Campaign Leadership Committee, and co-chair of his 2001 Reunion. He is a member of the Arts & Sciences National Council and recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mason and his wife, Myrna, have been generous supporters of the university. In recognition of their support, classrooms in both Ridgley and Simon halls and a renovated conference room in Eads Hall bear their names.

When Stiritz returned to doctoral course work begun earlier and enrolled in the Women’s Studies Program at Washington University, she was struck by the impact of the discipline, which examines the difference gender makes to knowledge and social practice, on the students. Her gift of $1 million endowed the Susan E. and William P. Stiritz Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Studies in Arts & Sciences.

Stiritz teaches two Women and Gender Studies courses in Arts & Sciences and conducts literary research. She will present three papers (one a prize winner) at the June 2003 meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association.